She came to live with us when I was 12. She would sit at the window with a toothless smile, wrapped in white with breasts that needed no cover or holding up, eyes layered with years, looking at the road outside, longing for home. Perhaps. Big mother. Old mother. Grand mother. She left me a gold bracelet, an old name and a longing for the road.
I walk around the sodium-lit rings of Connaught place late at night looking for you. There, the wrinkles on my hand look even, and I see you on that bench, looking at your hands too. There, we think of rivers—Jordan, Amazon, Nile, Euphrates, Congo—and our silted feet.
A certain bus ride in late August—Calcutta. The trees moved in a hurry. Windswept. She stood on the last step, socks pulled down to the ankles, the left toe caressing the back of the right knee—daring. 17. His hands held her close without props or excuse—then—a whisper, not a secret. 19 and something. Blood intimate. Cousins. The moment—rain-soaked. Pressed dry in words now.
I came to you as monsoon grass, surprising your toes with an occasional mushroom or primrose. I was the first splash of orange on a canvas, unsure whether to be sunrise or sunset. I am an even green—mowed and pruned, and hang as art in the corner of your soft-lit living room. I am since, much improved.
Me and You
I can play at being you in the dark- easy with love, soft with lies, blue of skin, hazy of years. But keep that light away from me-you! In focus, I become more human than a god.
I see the dark come at me through the window like an unlit truck. I stand in its way, my hands hold each other, locked in forever. Prepared. The light on the table, gentle and beguiled under a shade, hits my face in a flash. Blinding me for a while. Coward.